Ottawa-based You.i TV, a company that aims to appify television through its platform which allows TV programmers to build multiscreen applications, has closed a US$12 million Series B funding round, led by Time Warner Investments, with additional funding coming from new investor Vistara Capital Partners, and existing backers, Los Angeles-based Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P.
Managing Director of Time Warner Investments Scott Levine will be joining the You.i TV board.
“Delivering video directly to consumers is becoming vital to the media industry, and offering a compelling user interface & app experience is an important piece of this value chain,” said Levine. “We were immediately impressed with the You.i TV products, seeing how they create high-quality, unique branded experiences across multiple device platforms, while powering higher engagement rates with users.”
The Time Warner Investments portfolio also includes NextVR, Mashable, Krux, FanDuel, Discord and Bustle.
“The industry is in a race to ‘own the glass’ on devices big and small – from the 10ft to the fully mobile experience – and You.i TV has unlocked the art of gaining and retaining user attention,” says Jason Flick, CEO and Co-Founder of You.i TV. “When it comes to being ahead of the trend, Time Warner Investments is the best in the industry and choosing You.i TV is a ringing endorsement for the impact our products are having in market.”
Co-founded as You.iLabs in 2008 by Flick and Stuart Russell, the Ottawa company saw its fortunes rise after partnering with Rogers to develop its shomi SVOD app, which led to approaches by several other TV providers impressed by shomi’s proof of concept.
The company’s You.i Engine is similarly behind video apps for Sony Crackle and Time Warner’s Turner brands, including TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network, NBA League Pass, and Turner Classic Movie, which has near-term plans to release its own FilmStruck direct-to-consumer VOD app.
Time Warner’s Turner division is beginning standardize its application development using the You.i Engine platform.
Time Warner also recently acquired a streaming video service developed by Warner Bros., called DramaFever.
The You.i Engine solves a serious pain point for the TV industry, allowing television companies to build a custom app codebase that ties together their backend technologies, freeing them from having to use operating-system specific tools that don’t necessarily make for a smooth front-end viewing experience.
It’s based more on the principles of video game technology than TV, using cross-platform code and emphasizing GPU-driven performance to create a seamless user interface enabling users to concentrate on the end result rather than fiddling around with various platforms.
In 2014, You.i TV had 50 employees, had a little more than 150 in September and now has about 180 employees.
This strategic investment will allow You.i TV to meet growing demand for its products, to enhance its app designer workflow IP, and to continue to grow its partner channels.
In September, You.i TV raised a $15 million round of growth capital, led by Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors L.P.
The company is now involved in several deals, including with Adobe, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Corus Entertainment, and several companies that it can’t discuss owing to confidentiality agreements.
Last month, You.i TV named Dan Beer as its first Chief Operating Officer.